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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Tree Huggers

I have always admired the guile of the truly successful tree hugger.

His ability to congregate in clusters with fellow tree huggers and jointly search out refuges with their own sheltered micro-climates of warmth, welfare, wampum and wacky weed, situated far from the nearest manifestation of employment or effort is beyond reproach. Such refuges exist in the warmer parts of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand and, to my surprise, on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia.

On a recent trip to South Os, while relaxing at dusk on the stern of a house boat, with fishing rod trailing a wriggling worm in the languid current, cigar clamped between teeth and glass of cognac at hand and contemplating the virtues of Huckelberry Finn, I was regaled with an account of the habits of what the locals call “Ferals.”

Australians tend to be less gifted in the use of euphemism and smarmy PC terminology than their Kiwi cousins so I need to tell you that Ferals are people who live permanently on government and charitable handouts; avoid like the plague anything remotely resembling paid employment; vociferously criticise filthy capitalists and their puppet politicians and turn up to every demonstration for indigenous rights, against the rape of the environment or to throw shit at Howard or Bush. They reside in unusual places where local councils never enforce building codes and unsavoury sanitary practices tend not to be noticed. There’s bugger all native forest in Australia outside the nether regions of Tasmania and it’s bloody hard to get TV cameras in there so you don’t see as many of them swinging from the trees as we do here.

We had drifted past one of these enclaves not long before I became busy drowning bait. What was fascinating is that there was a Sky TV antenna and a substantial stack of empty “echos.” (An echo is the South Oz slang for a stubby.) This was the clan’s emergency fund. You see, in South Oz they have a gummint enforced 5c per unit cash deposit on all drink containers, including milk cartons.

Guess what? Roadside litter does not exist, the Ferals see to it.

Posted by Adolf Fiinkensein | 4/02/2005 02:31:00 PM


Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Interesting. But how much does that programme cost to run I wonder, and who pays.

4/03/2005 04:07:00 AM  

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